When My Father Is Admitted to the Hospital, What Do I Do With Extra Money in His Nursing Home Account?

This situation is not uncommon. It can become a problem if, at the end of the month, your father’s account exceeds the asset limit for Medicaid, which in many states is $2,000. This means you have to spend down the excess before the end of the month. You can do this by paying for anything your father may need or want, including: meals out or delivered in, stereo equipment, books on tape, companions who come to read to your father or take him on walks or outings, extra therapy or medical care – in short, anything that you can think of that is for your father. If your father has not prepaid for his funeral, you can enter into a contract with the funeral home and use the excess to begin paying the fee. In some states, you can make transfers to a (d)(4)(C) (“pooled”) trust, but for these small amounts it’s probably not worth the trouble. You could also ask the nursing home because they must run into this problem relatively often.